I have a beloved sofa. The arms are very high. I sit sideways with my knees bent and my feet on its newly upholstered surface. I am wearing the ancient headphones – the curly corded ones that plug into the stereo receiver. I have on jeans and a black t-shirt. The lights are off except for the china cabinet. The flames of a dozen candles also shadow the room.
I have a glass of cool Merlot. A beautiful glass. A full-bodied wine.
The Cowboy Junkies are filling my head. And then AJ Roach. And then Leonard Cohen. And Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. The official mourning albums. Beautiful music, rich instruments, stunning voices all with an underlying sadness.
I sink into the sofa. I sink into my grief. Those four CDs have lived in the player for years now. The official mourning quartet.
When sadness hits me, my first instinct is to avoid it. Being busy. Being social. Being this, being that. But I have learned that sometimes I just need to wallow in it. Embrace the grief, the pain, the memories.
Eventually, the pain lessens, the memories make me smile and the grief becomes the love I can no longer share.
When we reach the beauty of grief, I will sometimes play Mozart’s Jupiter. Waving my hands in the air and conducting the invisible orchestra in my head. Reveling in the joy of the notes.
Great pain can be beautiful. A terrible beauty, a stark beauty, film noir. And then it emerges transformed into a different beauty. One to wrap my heart in. Almost a joy to behold.